SAN RAFAEL, Calif. - A Novato man, who went missing on a Monday hike, was found alive Tuesday night during an intense search effort.
Just before 11 p.m., authorities said that Robert Bennett, 76, had been found, although the circumstances and his condition remain unclear. Video taken overnight shows Bennett being loaded into an ambulance and taken to a hospital.
It was the second time this week that Marin County crews launched a massive missing persons search.
Tuesday also marked a third day of searching for an elderly Palo Alto couple who were last seen visiting Inverness, on the Marin coast. Carol Kiparsky, 77, and her husband Ian Irwin, 72, were last seen Friday in the Inverness area and still haven't been found.
The search for Bennett resolved much more swiftly.
"He was known to hike the Big Rock area, and that's why family started checking here," said Sgt. Brenton Schneider, of the Marin County Sheriff's Dept.
Bennett's family kept an anxious wait at the Marinwood Fire Station before the good news finally came.
"These hills are steep, when you're hiking up it's a switchback," said Erik Jorgensen, who lives at the end of Valleystone Drive, where Bennett parked his Jeep Laredo and entered the trailhead.
Jorgensen said Bennett is familiar in the neighborhood, and often seems to hike with rock-collecting in mind, carrying small hammers and other tools.
"He's always hiking up here, I would say two or three times a week, so I've bumped into him and nodded and said hello how you doing."
Searchers opened the Jeep to look around inside and provide Bennett's scent to tracking dogs.
Bennett's whereabouts were also confirmed by at least one home security camera that showed him walking on the sidewalk Monday about 1:30 p.m.
"You could just sprain your ankle, and you can't walk anymore, all kinds of things can happen," said Markus Breyer, whose surveillance camera captured Bennett's image.
Breyer spends hours on the ridge running the trails.
"Mountain lions are out there as well of course," he added.
The open space stretches between San Rafael and Novato.
The trail Bennett started on goes for about a mile then splits into steeper paths that top out with ocean views.
"There's some nasty spots that can be treacherous and you can get in trouble," said mountain biker Lance Swanson, who spent his afternoon ride scanning and shouting for Bennett.
"I was hollering and calling out, in case someone was off the trail and was exhausted, they would be able to reply."
Finding Bennett comes as a huge relief, not only for his family, but Marin Search and Rescue crews have been stretched thin the past several days.
"We have been very busy, thankfully we have a lot of dedicated volunteers who give their own time to find people, and we still have boots on the ground, giving all searches our best effort," Schneider said.